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What's Up With The Awkward Moment of Meeting a Fellow Bass Player?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by StyleOverShow, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    So I like to check out other bands. Often I know the drummer or guitar player and you end up hanging with them on break or before the gig, whatever.

    There is something palpably different about meeting a non-bassist band member, and, the meeting the bass player. Sometimes it is no problem and you feel at ease to discuss whatever.

    Other times, it is a dead end to the conversation. I am wondering if we as bassists are insecure, overly protective or just competitive.

    True, we are the only "bass" in the band, like drummers and that might lead to some of my speculations above, but really, as the former Rodney might say "Why can't we just all get along?" Like lions are we head of our pride to the exclusion of other interlopers?

    I am an older guy and have friends/players who are 40 years my junior. When I check out there bands I just want to get the gestalt of their music, and would enjoy talking to the bass player about their setup, rigs, technique, pedals, whatever. It isn't always that easy. Why is that?
  2. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    I've never found a awkward bass player. What genre do you play
  3. Truktek2


    Sep 5, 2008
    Queens, NY
    One word. Insecurity.

    I've gotten funny vibes speaking with other amateur musicians, almost like they're always defensive because they doubt themselves. I was like that. Once I stopped taking my music so seriously, embraced my limitations, and realized it's just my hobby, was I able to hang easier with other musicians. I now give off the vibe that I'm better than I am because of it. :)

    Pros seem to be secure enough to be cool. Unless of course they're a douche in everyday life.
  4. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I think that's it. I'm really only an amateur when it comes to bass playing and a lot of the technical/theory side of music. Play what I hear, but I couldn't tell you what chords or scales I'm playing in my life depended on it (other than some very minor basics I've picked up), I approach music in a very different way to the way I approach many other things in life.

    In my day to day life, I'm in a highly specialized section of retail where I'm an expert and try to know anything and everything about the products and industries I work within. Most things I do I approach from a technical standpoint and ensure I know all the ins and outs before I make a move. Not so with music.

    So for me, when I meet another bass player, especially one who gigs a lot and knows what they're doing, I guess I've always got the thought in the back of my mind that they're one up on me, and I might say something stupid or something. Not that it really matters, but I'm far from a super confident person when I'm outside of my comfort zone, I don't really talk to strangers well at the best of times (outside of working, that is). I guess I just need to talk to more musicians and act more confidently, but it's hard for me.
  5. Wisconsin band bassist? :p
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Nor I.

    People are people. Some are cool, some are weird, some smell funny, and some you hate.
  7. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass SUSPENDED

    Apr 10, 2009
    Is it awkward when you meet a keyboardist's left hand?
  8. Definitely when in the bathroom.
  9. I used get that "awkwardness" when talking to other bass players but I figured out it's the first impression that makes (or breaks) the meetings.
    Now, if I initiate the "hey, whats up?", I'll let them know I also play bass but immediately start talking about his/her tone and gear, in a complimenting fashion. This usually brings their guards down because it's not about me.
  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    That's funny!

    Genres: Hard Bop Jazz, Funk, R&B, and a little classic covers

    reverbnation.com/RichardArmida or soundcloud.com/the-low-life

    I tend to think it is a false competitiveness sense "Are you better than me" kind of thing, and I don't subscribe to that. I am not here to judge, just enjoy.
  11. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I love bassists! The best people on the planet IMO.

    If I find out there's a bass player at one of my gigs, we are definitely talking about what songs you want to sit in on!
  12. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    As long as you don't allow it to be awkward, it's all on them...
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I have never had this problem. But I usually start with something positive, like if I like their tone.

    And boy, there are sure are a lot of bassists who fall into that category, because I like a variety of tones, as long as they have some "oomph" to them, and a lot of bassists DO.

    I am generally a newby, as a bass player, so I tend to come across more as a student, or fan than an authority.

    Maybe that's why I don't get along with lead singers...
  14. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    It's fun meeting other bass players! You are in studio city? Have we met? I'm in Woodland Hills? I know a bunch of jazz players and blues players around here just from local jams and things like that.

    I get shy when people come up to me at a gig and are like "yadda yadaa" and stuff...
  15. Hi.


    As a someone in his 40's and as a someone who once upon a time did FOH as his main job, I can tell You that in my experience it usually is:


    The first impression is everything, and the usual opening line:"Oh/so, You're the bassplayer. I play(ed) bass as well" is a definite mood killer right there and then.

    Don't forget either that as hard it seems for us bassplayers to get laid compared with other musicians, You're "robbing" them very crucial time right after the show, perhaps in their view causing blue-balls, yet again ;).

    IME it's not about competitiveness at all for us bassplayers. Sure is for the guitarists IME though.
    Most of the bassplayers I know won't give a rats behind about if someone thinks they're better than them, I sure don't.
    And I'm no virtuoso myself, that's for sure :).

    Then do convey that enjoyment to the person giving You that very enjoyment. I personally have never met a person who have turned a genuine compliment down. Providing that they were in such a mental state that they were able to take it as a compliment that is.

    I haven't gigged that much, about 100 gigs on each side of the console over a period of 25 years, but on those 200 gigs, there's been at least 300 patrons who have played something, toured with someone famous (to them anyway ;)), have been a roadie/bus-driver/whatever for someone I should know or just have a general idea about how it should be done.

    The genuinely cool guys and gals often get a cold shoulder (OK, NOT the gals, who was I kidding ;)) without absolutely any fault of their own, but just because we tend to pre-judge everyone by the bad experiences we've had with about 90% of the people who approach us. Often at a very inconvenient time no less.

    I wouldn't worry about it, us musicians regardless of whether we are pro's or just playing as a hobby, tend to be rather anti-social bunch anyway.

  16. Some people do things I can't do and I can do things that some people can't do. Same thing with tone. Inspiration can come from beginners or experts. We are all unique.
  17. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    nah...its only awkward when one of them shakes with their left hand or trys to hug me...ya..weird!
  18. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    Truktek hit it on the head. It's only awkward when they both are competing for the same job or one of them has an inferiority/superiority complex because that does work both ways but usually you can't tell till it gets to the playing in many cases. A bass player who gets weird after the mention of another bass player most likely has a life that is filled with awkward moments.
  19. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Reading the threads here on TB I'm beginning to think that a lot of bass players are socially dysfunctional. Many can't seem to communicate within or without the band. Filled with teenage angst even into their 50's. Fortunately, this only seems occur here on the internet, as the vast majority of men and women I've had the pleasure to meet and accompany have all been mature emotionally and socially adept.
  20. I don't trip but would rather BS w/the drummer- as long as he's cool w/swapping drummer & bass player jokes.